By D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh* (first published in several dailies in January 2015)
Little known William Gyude Moore, Liberia’s new Public Works Minister-designate, has a stocky challenge if he passes through the scrutiny of the Senate. Little known? Yes, not much is known about him in public square. Moore’s challenge and measurement of his achievement will be bordered on doing more of either of his two immediate predecessors: Attorney Samuel Kofi Woods, II and Dr. Antoinette G. Weeks.
“What kind of trouble is this?” he complained. “This is not time to fix roads; it should be done at night,” he menacingly added, though an opposed equal response would follow by a fellow passenger, a female. “People like you will never be satisfied,” a she countered. “When the people work, you vex; when they not work, you vex. Your give the people chance to do their work because we want good roads.”
He mustered courage and strength in his old ailing muscles and stood to greet and welcome the visiting team into his house. He had never before seen such a delegation of his professional colleagues at his house. He felt it was very appropriate to wake up and greet them.
“No, no, you don’t have to do that,” the head of the delegation advised empathically. “We understand your situation; just sit down.” The ailing old man returned to his sunken wooden seat, where he now spends bulk of his days—in a zinc shack house—listening to radio broadcast and following national issues.
Statement Delivered By PUL Secretary General, D Kaihenneh Sengbeh, at programs marking the International Anti-Corruption Day 2014, organized by the Liberian Youth Natural Resource Governance Forum YMCA Conference Hall
December 9, 2014
I bring you professional greetings from the leadership and members of the Press Union of Liberia on whose authorities I stand before you.
The Press Union of Liberian is pleased to be invited to form part of this international observance against a terrible menace that has the propensity to stagnate the growth and development of any country and its people. I am speaking about corruption. Corruption is no stranger to Liberia. It is entrenched in our culture, in our homes, in the churches and mosques, in the schools, in our hospitals, in our bedrooms and in the blood veins of many of us. It is systemic, it is serious! Yes, even in the media, too.
It is even rampant among the politicians leading our country, the security sector including the immigration and the police. For example, between last Friday and Sunday, I saw acts that appeared to be corruption many times at the various police and immigration checkpoints along the Monrovia-Ganta Highway. Before passing through, commercial drivers are asked to “Drop the Gate”, when they are not the ones who mounted those gates. You know what I mean by drop the gate! Those gatekeepers (our security men and women) are demanding monies from the commercial vehicles. Continue reading “International Anti-Corruption Day 2014 Speech By PUL Secretary General, D. Kaihenneh Sengbeh”
I have been following the ongoing debate between the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) and the Liberian government over the licensing of journalists in the country and I am obliged to share my thoughts with the hope of putting some issues into context and to “cool the temper.” Honestly I thought we could spare ourselves of all these ‘distractions’ to apply our combined energies and resources to the national Ebola fight and stop opening new frontiers because we are doing more harm than good to our country. So let me therefore beg the government to please keep this fight for another day if it feels strong about pursuing it. While advising however, I should give a hint of what to expect if and when the regime decides to proceed.
The Call for Journalists to lineup for Licensing
Could this be another panic decision or an act of desperation? On Tuesday, September 30, 2014, a release from the Liberia News Agency (LINA) quoted Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson as saying that journalists must seek annual permits from the Information Ministry, in accordance with Chapter 31.8 of the New Executive Law. The PUL rightfully challenged the decision and called on journalists not to cooperate.
Throughout my practice as a journalist dating back to 1996, and my stewardship on the leadership of the Press Union, I was never confronted with this subject of licensing or registering journalists as it were. It is safe to suggest that previous regimes either knew it was a controversial issue or a potential minefield and did not venture in that terrain. Those regimes included the noted dictators of Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor. Continue reading “Licensing Journalists: A Panic Decision or an Act of Desperation?”